Money & Career

Cheap summer thrills

Plan an affordable getaway with these tips

The weather’s warming up and summer’s drawing closer – it’s time to book your vacation. If you’re like most people, you don’t want to break the bank on just a week or two of summer fun. Follow these tips and find ways to bring your costs down, whether you’re traveling on your own or with kids in tow.

Be flexible with your dates
Depending on what day you fly, you can pay vastly different rates. Flying on weekends can be expensive – think about traveling on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (the cheapest days to fly!).

Get cooking
Instead of staying in a standard hotel room, think about looking for a place with a kitchen – whether it’s an apartment-hotel or an apartment rental, cooking your own meals will save you a lot of money.

Go all-inclusive
Consider booking an all-inclusive package that covers travel, accommodation and meals. That way you’ll keep your expenses in check and your credit card in your wallet.

Pack a cooler
If you’re headed out on the road with the kids, make sure you tote your own food in the car (think very big cooler!). You’ll not only save money on restaurant meals, you’ll also avoid arguments about where to stop and you’ll curb the calorie intake from all those fatty roadside alternatives.

Go online
When booking flights and hotels, use sites like expedia.ca, exitnow.ca and hotwire.com to shop around for your hotel, flight and even a rental car. Keep in mind that all sites have different information and rates so make sure you hit more than one site to check out your options.

Use plastic
Withdrawing money at an ABM can help you ensure you’re getting the best exchange rate directly from your bank. Your credit card is also a good way to deal with exchange rates. A note of caution – depending on where you bank and what machines you use, you might end up paying high fees. Check with your bank before you travel to find out.

Stay home
When in doubt, take a stay-cation! Book fun things to do close to home – day trips and other outings right in your backyard.